Happy Birthday! I’m wondering if birthdays become insignificant once you’ve died, or if your death day becomes a new type of birthday? It still surprises me that you’re not here anymore. Lately, people have been checking up on me, asking me how I’m doing and if this holiday season has been especially difficult. Ashamedly, I often don’t realize that they’re referring to the absence of you. Truth be told, though I often feel your physical absence, I rarely feel you gone. Remarkably, I see you still taking care of me and our family. You planned so well, and you take care of us so well.
Dad, I’m having a hard time filling your shoes. I tried to rake the leaves in the yard, but I couldn’t get all of it done before the snow came. The side yard is still covered in leaves; I’m sorry. How did you get all of the leaves out of the flower beds? I’m struggling on that one. Do the leaves just decompose and feed the soil? I sure hope so. Michelle and I cleaned out the rain gutters. You’ll never believe what we found! The gutters were clogged with all sorts of debris from when we got the new roof—tiles, nails, etc. Those workers sure left a mess. After we cleared it out, the gutters poured forth water like a fountain into the yard. You would have been happy.
We thought we weren’t going to do a big Thanksgiving dinner this year, but you know Mom, she has a hard time not hosting. I think she really misses you. I think she needed to host a Post-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving because she misses you. I tried to clean the table up just the way you taught me, making sure the nice silverware doesn’t go in the dishwasher, and washing each goblet by hand. It’s a lot of work. You did a lot of work.
We put up both Christmas trees successfully, and managed to force that giant bough over the door. I’m so glad you told Michelle about how the lanterns have electrical plugs inside them! I had no idea. We have yet to tackle putting lights up on the house. I don’t know if we’ll ever get to it. It kind of makes me sad because you always did such a nice job.
When I say that I rarely feel you gone, I don’t mean to say I don’t miss you. I miss you a lot. I miss your steadiness and stability. I haven’t been feeling so steady or stable recently. I really miss hearing you sing in the choir. I started crying in the car the other day because the station was playing Rutter’s “Candlelight Carol” and it made me think of you. I miss you whenever I eat mashed potatoes. I miss the way you used to grumble every time I put up that loud Santa Claus that greets people at the door. I think Michelle keeps turning it off though, so the battle continues. I miss the way you’d set up a little wrapping station in your bedroom and watch old Christmas specials while we assigned you which gifts go to which person and under which tree. You were always so helpful.
I don’t expect we’ll be getting a big basket of goodies this year from that one organization that always sent you a big basket. Those baskets were extravagant, to say the least. I loved unpacking them with you and awing over the expensive cheeses and random baubles. People sure loved and appreciated what you did for them. I know I did.
Well, I am realizing that I have a lot I want to talk to you about, so maybe I’ll try to write more often. I think I’d like that. Anyway, I just wanted to remind you how much I love you on your birthday. I wanted to tell you that I miss you, but that I know you’re not too far away. I wanted to thank you for taking care of me and supporting me, even now. You taught me how to be a real Lady, and a resourceful one at that. I love you Daddy